it’s been almost 7 days since my last post, and so much has happened in what seems like a blink of an eye. shelby and i both agreed that we feel like we have been here a long time (in a good way, of course) and in the same breath we feel like everyday flies by so quickly. it’s hard to know where to start…
i’ve had my fair share of travels to 3rd world countries…i feel like, or felt like i should say, that i had seen a lot on my trips to the Dominican Republic and Uganda. in both places I have worked with orphans, and met villagers that live in extreme poverty. not to mention that most of those countries live off of dollars a day, there’s poverty and brokenness everywhere. all this to say…i was shocked at the living conditions of the kids at the orphanage. and i guess you could say that i was shocked at being shocked. i honestly thought i had seen it all, or at least most of it. for goodness sake i have ate dinner in a tin hut with chickens running around by feet. and don’t even think twice about electricity. but Haley’s House was different. maybe 2 of the 30 children own shoes…almost all of their mouths are filled will rotting teeth, they don’t have hand soap, much less toilet paper or clean clothes. the first two days of last week we spent all day 9-5, at the orphanage. we got a pretty good feel for what their lives are like there. shelby and i were the only adults there the whole day, unless you count the couple minutes we were greeted when we showed up. i’m not trying to put the orphanage in a bad light…i’m just being completely honest about our experience. i’m thankful for this orphanage and i’m glad they have put a roof over these abandoned children’s heads. but these kids truely have nothing. we were told when we first got there that the children have been praying for shoes for months now. hearing this made me want to punch someone in the face. (elegantly put, i know) i don’t know who, but at the time it felt like it would make me feel better to blame someone. i wanted to yell “WHY?” why has no one taken care of you? why has no one taken care of the orphan in need? it seems so clear to me. but i can’t be angry at God, i can’t be angry at anyone here. i just have to pour my passion into hating brokenness, doing something about it, and never stop thinking about eternity when their every need will be met. i guess the beauty in brokenness is seeing it made right. i know i’ve only known these kids for a week, but i desperately love them. i wish i could give each and everyone of them the world.
when we first got to the orphanage the kids sang us some songs to welcome us. one of the last songs they sang was in Khmer…but i instantly knew the tune. it was “I have decided to follow Jesus”. it tugged at my heart almost more than anything else here…that’s the song my dad would sing me to sleep with when i was a little girl. and here i am…22 years old…on the other side of the world, listening to 30 fatherless children sing me that same song that i listened to while lying in my comfy bed, in my air-conditioned room, in my brand new princess pajamas, dreaming in the promise of my future, where i could have anything i ever wanted. this stuff messes with your head. how can you be the same after? how can i eat my next meal that costs as much as a pair of shoes that could cover their naked feet?
the first night after the orphanage i kept waking up in the night…burdened by the thought of my babies sleeping on those old sheets…with no mattress. no mommy. and i knew exactly what to do.
email my mom.
“it’s midnight here, i can’t sleep. the kids don’t even have shoes. it’s awful.”- me
“dad and i will buy them all shoes, tell us how much to put in your account.”- mom
the next day…
“what else do they need?”- mom
3 days later…
“i told the women in my bible study about the orphans…in one day they put together 900$ to help the children…plus a washing machine.”
obviously that is a more condensed version of our conversations but the conclusion is the same. my mom is a rockstar. and jesus rocks people’s world.
so today Shelby and i, along with Carolyn and her daughter, went into the market and bought 40 some pairs of children’s shoes. it was awesome and i can’t wait to give them to the kids tomorrow.
(here’s my favorite girl at the orphanage, i know i know i shouldn’t have favorites. but i do. her name is teare)
there’s so much more i could tell you about our week…but this post is already real long, i guess i need to start writing more often. in any case, i’ll leave you with some tidbits of our time here.
-sambo (the elephant) is dead. i don’t want to talk about it. there’s gotta be another elephant is this darn country and i’ll ride it if its the last thing i do. no pun intended.
-i decided that full sentences are not necessary when talking to the locals here. it’s just as useful to use single words and verbs. “need fan”, “go, ice cream”,”no pig intestine”
-i thought i could eat rice forever when we first got here. i cannot.
-one of my favorite places so far in the city is a place called Daughters Of Cambodia. Click on the link and read about it, it’s an awesome organization that provides a way out for girls living in brothels and living a life in sex trafficking. they take a holistic approach to turning these girls lives around and it was one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever been. we went to their visitor center which was a darling boutique, cafe, and spa. what a ray of hope. if you’re reading this, click this link and sponsor a girl right now. it will probably be some of the best money you have ever spent.
all my love.